The WCS Lao program recognizes that local livelihoods are directly linked to the management of biodiversity. The intensification of agriculture practices in communities around PAs in Lao PDR is necessary to reduce further agriculture expansion due to shifting cultivation. These same communities rely on natural resources in and around the PAs for their personal subsistence. For example, in several communities around Nam Et - Phou Loeuy NPA more than 60% of protein and 50% of vegetables consumed by families living adjacent to NPA is derived directly from the rivers and forests. National policies allow for the management and consumption of these resources, and it is, therefore, important that conservation efforts engage in an effort to reverse the downward population trends affecting the wild food source.
Engaging communities in agriculture intensification and natural resource management, WCS expects to demonstrate and build experiences on how to reduce the pressure on NPA core zones in LaoPDR while increasing the resilience of local communities to unforeseen changesin the environment, climate, and the economy. WCS has been working with communities to improve livelihoods and increase food security by providing technical assistance to communities on livestock rearing methods and building community capacity for fisheries management through the creation of fish conservation zones . WCS has also been assisting communities to create new livelihood opportunities in community-bsaed ecotourism.